Mets Game 102: Loss to Diamondbacks
Rockies 3 Mets 2
At the start it was a skirmish between soft-tossers, but in the end, a battle of the bullpens.
Livan Hernandez and Doug Davis matched each other slow curve for slow curve through six innings and each exited the game with the score tied and no chance for a decision. The soft-tossers hurled nearly identical outings, with both going 6 innings and allowing 4 hits and 2 runs — with all runs scoring on solo homers.
But in the end, it was the Arizona bullpen that prevailed, as they held the Mets hitless over the final three frames while Sean Green imploded, allowing a runner inherited from Pedro Feliciano to score the winning run.
Ironically, the loss was tagged on Feliciano, even though it was Green who shat the bed. Sometimes there is no justice in baseball scoring. Note: Feliciano was charged with the loss on the MLB official boxscore posted 10 minutes after the game; it has since been amended.
The 8th inning was a prime example of why the Diamondbacks are in second-to-last place and going nowhere this year. After Sean Green hit Justin Upton, walked Mark Reynolds on four pitches to load the bases, and was clearly struggling to keep the ball within six feet of home plate (seriously, not an exaggeration), genius Miguel Montero swung at a 1-0 pitch to bounce into a tailor-made DP started by Dan Murphy. Minutes later Green bounced a ball to the backstop to allow a run anyway, but it could’ve been much worse. If I’m manager A.J. Hinch (meh), I have the take sign on until Green shows he can throw two balls near the plate. If it were Miguel Cabrera at the plate instead of Miguel Montero, I might think differently … though it would be tough. After Green bounced in the run, Ryan Roberts swung at the very next pitch and eventually grounded out to end the inning. Again, you see a pitcher struggling mightily, don’t help him! Green was darn lucky to get out of there with only one run — any decent-hitting team would have scored 3-4 runs at minimum.
And while we’re on the subject of fundamentals, Ron Darling mentioned during the ninth that a hitter in a sacrifice situation should start the bat at the top of the strike zone — this way, if the pitch is above the bat, you know to let it go. I personally do not like this approach, because when the bat is up high, it means you have to move it down for strikes — and when you move a bat down to the ball, the ball tends to go up. Obviously, bunts should go down, toward the ground, which is why I’ve always preferred to start the bat low, at the bottom of the strike zone, and move it UP to the ball — which tends to impart an overspin on the ball, and sends the ball downward. Simple physics.
Frankie Rodriguez has not been in a save situation since the All-Star break. Wow.
The first two runs of the game came on homeruns hit on hanging curveballs. Mark Reynolds blasted a Livan curve a good 430 feet over the centerfield fence, while Dan Murphy jumped on a Davis deuce and bounced it off the rightfield foul pole, exactly 330 feet from home plate.
The two teams COMBINED for nine hits in the game. Miraculously, the Mets walked seven times — and not one of those baserunners scored. Davis issued six of those walks, and nearly all of them were of the “unintentional intentional” variety — he clearly picks and chooses who he wants to pitch to.
Angel Berroa pinch-hit for Livan Hernandez with two out and the bases loaded in the bottom of the sixth. Have to say, if Berroa is the best you can do in that situation, I prefer to take my chances with Livan.
For the record, Jerry Manuel — the guy who admittedly “doesn’t put much into stats” — explained the decision by stating “Berroa’s had some success in the past against Arizona”. Um … hmmm … not sure how that’s a factor — does Berroa respond to the uniform rather than an individual’s stuff? In his career, Berroa has a .218 average vs. Arizona. Yes, last year Berroa hit .308 vs. the D’Backs, and against Doug Davis he was hitting .500 — but it was 1-for-2. Again, I may take my chances with Livan right there.
Angel Pagan and Luis Castillo are a combined 1-for-15 in the last two games heading the top of the lineup.
So with the Giants leading in the Wild Card standings, we have to root for the Phillies this weekend. Awesome.
Next Mets Game
The Mets and Rockies do it again at 7:10 PM at Citi Field. Oliver Perez faces Max Scherzer in an intriguing contest of talented enigmas. Both pitchers have the stuff to throw a no-hitter on the right night, and either could also disappear from the game before the fourth inning. No matter what, the crowd surely will be refreshed by cool breezes from the swings and misses siphoned from both lineups by these fireballers.